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Archive for July, 2012

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

We Fold Inside Of Us

Review of The Daredevil Christopher Wright’s The Nature Of Things and giveaway

Photo via File Under: MusicFile Under: MusicPrior to a few years ago, the city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin wasn’t widely known for very much besides being a convenient stopping point between Madison and Minneapolis. That has largely changed, at least amongst certain circles, thanks to the success of favourite son Justin Vernon of Bon Iver who rather than decamp for the bright lights of the big city with the onset of success has instead further entrenched himself in his hometown, building his April Base Studios just outside of the city and helping bring international attention to the city’s music scene which consists largely of friends and collaborators.

The Daredevil Christopher Wright can count themselves amongst them, what with Vernon having worked on their 2009 debut In Deference To A Broken Back and taken the trio on tour with him, but those looking to their just-released second album The Nature Of Things for that sort of forlorn, epic wilderness spirit will only find it partially satisfying. There are traces of that to be found, certainly, but The Daredevil Christopher Wright are more playful in personality, both musically and lyrically, though one can’t help notice a bit more sombreness around the edges than on their debut. Their impressive three-part harmonies might encourage some to draw Fleet Foxes parallels, but their best reference point, at least to these ears, is the throwback folk-rock of Texas’ Midlake, albeit again with more lightness to their approach. Gentle and genteel but delivered with a sly wink, The Nature Of Things is a record that may not strive to be the life of the party but will also never overstay its welcome.

No strangers to Canadian roads – they opened up for Dan Mangan across the country last November – the band are about to embark on a North American tour that brings them through Toronto to the Horseshoe on August 7 en route to the Maritimes before returning back to the US. It’s a free show and an early show – they’re on at 8:40PM – and since I can’t give away passes, I’ll give away albums. Courtesy of Webster Media Consulting, I’ve got four copies of The Nature Of Things to give away – one on vinyl, three on CD – so if you want one, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want The Daredevil Christopher Wright” in the subject line and your full name, mailing address, and preference of LP or CD in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, August 6. And because I don’t get to do this that often, the contest is open to anyone in Canada.

There’s an interview with the band at CBC Music and the stream of the new album posted at Exclaim when it came out last month is still working.

MP3: The Daredevil Christopher Wright – “Divorce”
Stream: The Daredevil Christopher Wright / The Nature Of Things

The Gossip are touring North America in support of their latest album A Joyful Noise, and will be in Toronto at The Phoenix on September 29. Singer Beth Ditto is interviewed over at The Guardian and The Independent.

Video: The Gossip – “Perfect World”
Video: The Gossip – “Move In The Right Direction”

Matt & Kim are also back on the road with a massive tour in support of their new one Lightning; they’ll be at The Phoenix on October 5. Matt Johnson talks to Spin about the new record.

MP3: Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”

Chicago’s The Sea & Cake are back with a new album in Runner and a tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on October 18, tickets $16.50. Full dates are available at Pitchfork and a preview of the new record is available below.

MP3: The Sea & Cake – “Harps”

JAM and Altsounds have interviews and Drowned In Sound a video session with Sharon Van Etten; she’s at The Phoenix tonight.

Stereogum talks to Steven McDonald of Redd Kross about Researching The Blues, their really really really excellent new album, out next week. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself at NPR.

MP3: Redd Kross – “Researching The Blues”
Stream: Redd Kross / Researching The Blues

The Sugar reissues are now out and awesome, and if you’re unconvinced then read the Pitchfork review don’t give me that look for excellent explanations of why. Bob Mould’s next solo album The Silver Age is out September 4.

A second track from Love This Giant, the collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent, is now available to stream. The album is out September 11 and the pair are at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20.

Stream: David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Weekend In The Dust”

Stereogum is streaming a new song from the forthcoming Calexico record Algiers, out September 11. They’ve also got a video of a live performance of the same song.

Stream: Calexico – “Spitter”

Those hoping that those Grandaddy reunion shows and reissues would lead to new material will have to make do with a new Jason Lytle solo record. Dept. Of Disappearance will be out on October 16 and Pitchfork has details and a stream of the title track.

Stream: Jason Lytle – “Dept. Of Disappearance”

October 16 will also be the release date for the long-awaited second album from Savoir Adore. They released the first video from it last month.

Video: Savoir Adore – “Dreamers”

Tobin Spout talks to Rolling Stone about Bears For Lunch, the third Guided By Voices album of 2012 due out in November, and their plans to release a new one every six months or so after that.

Creative Loafing talks to Eric Bachmann of Archers Of Loaf.

The Guardian tries to get into the head of The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne.

NYC Taper has a recording of one of Wilco’s recent New York-area shows available for download.

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Coexist

The xx and Jacques Greene at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe arc around The xx’s 2009 debut xx was a narratively perfect one, rich with mystery, sex, and drama as the London trio vaulted from obscurity to Mercury and, most prestigiously, a place on my year-end list. And perhaps most crucially for a perfect story, they ended. Or at least went away for a while.

Real life differs from stories, however, in that it generally doesn’t let you just ride off into the sunset, and so after some deserved downtime – okay, Jamie Smith, aka Jamie xx, continued to establish himself as a highly sought-after DJ, remixer, and producer but his bandmates Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim did a pretty good job of staying out of sight – the trio announced their second album would be entitled Coexist and be out on September 11. But before that and between a slew of European festival appearances, a compact tour of the new world to refresh their fans’ memories, if it was needed. And if you don’t feel like reading the rest of the review, I’ll offer a spoiler – it wasn’t.

Support for the tour came from Montreal’s Jacques Greene, and while he’s done a job of establishing his name as both a producer and artist, live he was a two-man operation, accompanied by labelmate Ango on working the samplers and sequencers to create solid grooves of electronic, R&B beats. He was also the de facto frontman when the pair shifted gears a couple times for some slow jams that didn’t astonish, but did offer a nice change of pace from the rest of their set. If you came to The xx from their indie guitar-based side, it might have been a bit unexpected as an opener but if you focused on their dancier side and turned the BPM up a bit, it made perfect sense. And both Greene and Ango looked like they could be stunt doubles for Oliver Sim, so there was that too.

Considering that by the end of the xx cycle, The xx were selling out Massey Hall, returning to a room the size of The Phoenix where they made their Toronto debut opening for Friendly Fires in December 2009 should have been a great chance to recapture some of the intimacy that so suits their music before they’re lost forever to much larger venues, but one of the things that this show made quite clear is that it’s very difficult to create that sort of intense, minimalist vibe when you have a thousand people singing along – and that wasn’t only for the old material. The show opened with the first official taste of Coexist, the week-old “Angels”, and even on that Madley-Croft had an unofficial backing choir of hundreds who’d already committed its lyrics to heart.

The one-hour, ten-minute show gave the audience pretty much everything they could have wanted. There was xx in its entirety, but with a few tracks essentially remixed live – “Crystalised” was essentially transformed into an ambient piece and others were more subtly transformed for greater dynamics and dramatic effect – and a half dozen selections to preview Coexist. In broad strokes, the new material doesn’t sound too far removed from the old – certainly it will take a copy of the finished album and a good pair of speakers or headphones to fully appreciate the growth in their songwriting and production – but comments that Smith had made in the press about this record being more dance-influenced were not idle. While Madley-Croft and Sim’s roles as frontpersons remained as they ever were, Smith made it clear through how his beats – including some on acoustic drums – drove the show that he was their musical backbone, their man behind the curtain (or perspex ‘X’ DJ tables), and wherever he wanted to take them would be where they went. And circa Coexist, he’s feeling the dance – main set closer “Swept Away” was pretty much a rave.

While neither Madley-Croft or Sims have ever seemed particularly fussed about their onstage charisma – some complain about their understatedness but I’ve always found it to be perfectly suited to their music – they certainly seemed to have more presence this time than their past visits. Certainly part of this was the elaborate lighting effects, projections, and smoke machines that accompany them onstage, but also a result of their continued growth and comfort level as performers. And it’s a good thing they seem to be feeling comfortable up there – based on the strength of this preview of Coexist and the obvious appetite their fanbase still has for them, The xx are going to be on the road for a long time.

The Toronto Sun, The National Post, Exclaim, and NOW were also in attendance and has some thoughts.

Photos: The xx, Jacques Greene @ The Phoenix – July 28, 2012
MP3: The xx – “Angels”
MP3: The xx – “Open Eyes” (demo)
MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
MP3: Jacques Greene – “Motivation”
MP3: Jacques Greene – “Sorted”
MP3: Jacques Greene – “Arrow”
MP3: Jacques Greene – “Another Girl”
Video: The xx – “Islands”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
Video: Jacques Greene – “Another Girl”
Video: Jacques Greene – “Tell Me”

Bloc Party are streaming a new track from Four, out August 21. They play The Danforth Music Hall on September 10.

Stream: Bloc Party – “Day Four”

Japanese classical post-rock quartet Mono will release their new album For My Parents on September 4 and stage a massive North American tour with a stop at The Horseshoe on September 12; Chris Brokaw of Come/Codeine/The New Year fame will open up. Mono’s last visit in May 2010 was epic, and not in that hyperbolic way that the word is typically used nowadays. It was literally epic.

MP3: Mono – “Ashes In The Snow”
MP3: Chris Brokaw – “Bricks”

The Quietus has an interview with Lætitia Sadier, in town at The Drake on September 18.

Very disappointed to report that I Break Horses have cancelled the whole of their Fall North American tour, including September 19 at The Drake. They’re promising to make it up in 2013 though, so there’s that.

Daytrotter has a session with Blood Red Shoes, in town at The Drake Underground on September 26.

Taken By Trees have released the first video from Other Worlds, out October 2. She plays The Phoenix on October 4.

Video: Taken By Trees – “Dreams”

The first single from Bat For Lashes’ new album The Haunted Man is now available to download. It’s out October 23.

MP3: Bat For Lashes – “Laura”

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Ladyhawke’s Anxiety.

Video: Ladyhawke – “Blue Eyes”

The Sun talks to the members of Blur about their thoughts on the Olympics and the state of their reunion.

Loud & Quiet have an interview with Mica Levi of Micachu & The Shapes.

Gameological talks games with Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin’.

Uprooted Music Revue and Drowned In Sound talk to Stevie Jackson about his solo efforts.

Spinner has a feature on 2:54.

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

"Substitute"

Blur covers The Who

Image via discogs.comdiscogs.comConsidering their legacies as amongst the most artistically creative and commercially successful British rock bands of their respective eras are rather assured, it’s easy to forget that both Blur and The Who started out as pretty bright-eyed, eager-to-please guitar pop bands. Which is not to say that their earlier works were overly simplistic or lacked ambition – it’s arguable that what they accomplished within the constraints of the 3-minute pop song was as impressive as anything did once free to indulge their creative impulses – so hearing young Blur cover young Who is really quite invigorating.

The track comes from a 1993 tribute album called Who Covers Who?, when Blur were rising stars on the back of Modern Life Is Rubbish and The Who were celebrating their thirtieth anniversary not with a reunion but a box set in the excellent Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B. Fast-forward another 19 years, and it’s Blur who are putting out the box set in the career-spanning Blur 21, out next week, coinciding with what may or may not be a final burst of activity culminating in their Olympics-closing show at Hyde Park on August 12.

The Who know a thing or two about trying to wrap up a career, but numerous break-ups and the deaths of Keith Moon and John Entswistle haven’t been able to keep Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry down – their latest return to action comes in the form of a massive North American tour where they’ll recreate 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia live. They’ll bring that to the Air Canada Centre on November 23.

MP3: Blur – “Substitute”
Video: The Who – “Substitute”

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

CONTEST – The ALL CAPS! Island Festival @ Gibraltar Point – August 11 & 12, 2012

Illustration by Derek MaDerek MaWhat: The fourth annual ALL CAPS! Island Festival – if this is a new thing to you, read this and come back after.
Who: Day one features Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Maylee Todd, Choir! Choir! Choir!, Tyvek, Wet Hair, Esther Grey, and Triple Gangers. Day two welcomes A Place To Bury Strangers, Lioness, Absolutely Free, OG Melody, Young Mother, Canadian Winter, and Ivy Mairi. Plus artists. Plus workshops.
When: August 11 and 12, 2012
Where: Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands (all ages)
How: Two-day non-camping passes for the festival are $30 in advance but courtesy of Webster Media Consulting, I’ve got one pair of festival passes (good for both days but no camping) to give away for the event. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I WANT ALL CAPS” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, August 6.
What else: Yes, even festivals have trailers now.

Trailer: ALL CAPS!
MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are The One”
MP3: Lioness – “The Night”
MP3: Choir! Choir! Choir! – “I Want It That Way”
MP3: Ivy Mairi – “I Can See You”
Video: Yamanta//Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”
Video: Maylee Todd – “Heart Throb”
Video: OG Melody – “Change Gon Come”

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

CONTEST – The Dø @ Lee’s Palace – August 3, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: The Dø
What: Wildly eclectic Franco-Finnish art-pop duo who draw on rock, folk, electro, and soul influences in equal measure and make them into something quite unique.
Why: Their latest album Both Ways Open Jaws came out in Spring of 2011 in Europe, but not until that November in North America, so they’ve got a reasonable excuse for taking so long to come back to town – they were last here in September 2010.
When: Friday, August 3, 2012
Where: Lee’s Palace in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Support is still to be announced
How: Tickets for the show are $15 in advance but courtesy of Livenation, I’ve got a pairs of passes and copy of the new album on CD to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want The Dø” in the subject line – the slashed o is required – and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, July 31.
What else: They just debuted a new video from Both Ways at NPR. The San Francisco Examiner also has a quick interview.

MP3: The Dø – “Slippery Slope”
Video: The Dø – “The Wicked & The Blind”